So /tg/, as a player, how do I get my 'spark' back?
Whenever I join games, I tend to barely play attention and have to really use effort to be interested in other people's characters, even my own to an extent. I'm not denying that this makes me an asshole, what I'm saying is I want help.
How do I get myself really invested in tabletop games? How do I give myself that 'spark' of general interest and enthusiasm? That's what a good player should be, and I fail at that. Please help.
I'd suggest really trying to invest and immerse yourself in the setting and characters. Really try to picture it in your mind's eye.
Alternately, try playing stuff from a different genre. Maybe you're just burnt out on [pic related]. I love fantasy but I like muh Cyberpunk from time to time too.
Find a good game.
I burned out as a GM, put 200% into my 'last ditch', I'm currently loving it and planning subsequent campaigns.
You gotta remind yourself of why tabletop is uniquely fun in a world of high definition video games and massive-budget movies.
I feel you OP. The amount of genuinely really good games that I've had to drop because I just can't care anymore is staggering. Are you a depressive OP?
Failing that: branch out. Many people only stick to one system and setting. Or hop between shadowrun and dnd or whatever. Play new things, join new groups. May find one you like.
I suppose the question you have to be asking is why you are having trouble paying attention to the game.
Are you being distracted by outside stimuli (i.e. playing over roll20/similar and experiencing electronic distractions; lots of noise in your house, etc.).
Is the DM's pacing/descriptive ability not immersing you in the setting/action?
Are you experiancing a sort of, "down," period in your life (depression, family/financial troubles) that is affecting you outside of the game?
Have you been through too many games/characters that didn't last long recently, and are feeling burned out?
I know that the guy who DMs most frequently for our friend group, I sometimes have trouble following the action the party is doing, outside of combat. It feels like one moment we are travelling through the market place, examining objects, and next we are in a church, speaking with the preist/quest-giver.
Personally, I'm guilty of being a little spacy, particularly when it comes to things that don't matter/affect my character, but I think the transitions between locations could use some additional weight and description.
No, the embarrassing thing is I am not depressed or depressive at all. I think one of the main causes for this is the lack of interesting settings I have been introduced too, instead of playing something with style and mystery it tends to be a bit more generic fantasy fair. However it really isn't fair to blame it on the DM.
I will also say that most of my games have been online but for the few live games I have been in I have been much more focused and more invested in the game.
You might just not find roleplaying interesting anymore. I'm like that, I used to roleplay a lot, but lately I've stopped because it takes a lot more to grab my interest intellectually or creatively, because I've developed and changed a lot. I just come to /tg/ to get involved in creative discussion, because it gets a lot more interesting than what happens in a game since it's on such a wider range of subjects, with less pressure and more people involved. It's no good to force yourself to keep doing something after it's lost its charm, even if you used to get a lot of fun out of it. Shit, it might just be you need a break, as well. The ready availability of new games can be a danger, because they get so close that you don't have time to develop or think of stuff you want to do in games between games. Sometimes you need to let your ideas accumulate for awhile.
Consider who you are playing with. Ask the players if they're still having fun, or they too find the setting unappealing. Perhaps the DM is also burning out and running out of ideas. As a DM,
I find that players who have the most fun are the ones who come up with more solidified goals for the character. Get your group to agree on something. It's one of the reasons why when I play DnD, I finagle the party to start up a productive enterprise, that way the campaign has meaning and direction. This also gives fuel for the DM for plot hooks and unique directions for the campaign to go in. Also gives a base and a better reason to be tied to the world.
Overall it seems there is a lack of drive in your group. Think about random adventures your character/you would find to be interesting and others would tag along for. Otherwise, it might be time to find a new group you work better with. Also, if your DM IS throwing Collosal Gay Al at you, you should've jumped ship a long time ago.
The only way you'll get your spark back is to forget everything you've ever experienced in role playing. You've become jaded to it because you've seen everything that's ever been done and will be done in roleplaying so all of it feels lackluster.
Honestly, all the games I've ever played online have been awful for me, and maybe that has something to do with the fact that none of them have used webcams, so facial expression/hand motions are not seen. I have a bad tendency to misconstrue peoples words/text as passive-aggressive or hostile without non-verbal cues, which leads to misinterpreting of intent, etc.
Back to the matter at hand: It might be that it's some combination of uniteresting plot/setting, some kind of inattention on your part, and lackluster performances on the part of the other players, making for a bland, uninteresting gaming experience, like eating a wedding cake made entirely of wonder bread; not technically bad, but not good either.
Perhaps try a setting outside of generic/traditional fantasy, or consider taking a break for a while; build up the urge to play a bit more, and give yourself to recharge, creatively, between sessions.
I have definitely been recharging, been a few weeks since I've been in a game and have been working on my own game/setting I've been wanting to run myself.
Of course I should mention that I worldbuild and systembuild a lot as a hobby, so seeing people play something a bit more generic or rules by the book is possibly one of the reasons.
I feel you. I'm writing a campaign myself (of sorts - procrastination) and I've done two before. Sometimes I have a hard time getting as immersed in another person's world(s) as I do my own, because I can fill in the details in my imagination better then it could every be conveyed to be using human language.